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| Some albums open with an explosion of ear-shattering noise that threatens to leave listeners wincing with the aftershock from days on end. Some albums open with a track so lighthearted and carefree that the listener starts caring about anything but the music. The self-titled album from I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business thankfully does neither of these. A quiet conversation serves as the background to softly playing guitar, gradually becoming a hurricane of electricity and barely articulate vocals. This two-minute introduction tenderly plucks the listener from the world in which he is sitting comfortably in his car and takes him to a surreal place, where heartfelt lyrics and gorgeous harmonies come together for fifteen tracks of undeniable genius.
I Can Make a Mess is the work of Ace Enders from the well-known and beloved The Early November. One can find proof of this simply by turning over the CD case and looking at the track listings on the back. Irresistible titles like “But When the Little Fellow Came Close and Put Both Arms Around His Mother, and Kissed Her in an Appealing Boyish Fashion, She was Moved to Tenderness” draw a prospective buyer to fall in love with Ace all over again, or maybe for the first time if he isn’t familiar with The Early November. And he hasn’t even started listening to the album yet.
“So we take the night…” The second track, “Whispering Actually,” immediately satisfies the thirst developed by the introduction. Though abruptly interrupted in the middle for an interlude of what might be a TV talk show, “Whispering Actually” serves as a gentle, even deeper settling into I Can Make a Mess’ magical dreamworld. Follow-up tracks like “Timshel” and “The Best Happiness Money Can Buy” do the same, with energy building into a “yee-haw” or two amidst the pure poetry of I Can Make a Mess’ lyrics.
However, in several places the album is unexplainably interrupted, drawing attention away from the song with distinguishable dialogue and sound that doesn’t fit in at all with the honest, soul-baring feel of the music. Especially at the end of a track, one can clearly recognize the noise of a TV, as if Ace is playing in a bedroom with a soap opera floating under the door. At first this adds a sort of authenticity to each track, giving it a human, imperfect quality with which the listener can identify. Eventually, though, it becomes more of an annoyance. But Ace knows full well what he’s doing, and after throwing a substantial amount of seemingly meaningless conversation into “Untitled Track 8” and “Untitled Track 9,” gives us a track called “End of the Background Noise.” Indeed, in the tracks following there is an absence of unidentifiable television conversations. After hearing “Untitled Track 12” and “Salvy” untainted by interruptions, the listener is left with a craving hunger for more. And the CD has finished playing through, so what is there to do but listen again?
I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business is an album as fulfilling the second or third or fortieth time as it is the first, if not more with each additional listen. The lyrics are sincere and the power and drive behind them are genuine and superb. Skillfully synchronized drumbeats and guitarwork take the experience of each song to unbelievable highs, resulting in a final product that is nothing less than awesome. If you don’t mind the occasional relief from the ordinary and commonplace, pick up I Can Make a Mess and prepare yourself for a long swig of absolute brilliance. Enjoy.
|1) Track 1
<< 2) Whispering Actually >>
3) So I Finally Decided To Give
Myself a Reason
5) The Best Happiness Money Can Buy
6) An Oak Tree Stands Beside a Linden
7) But When The Little Fellow Came
Close and Put Both Arms Around
His Mother, and Kissed Her in an
Appealing Boyish Fashion, She Was
Moved to Tenderness.
8) Track 08
9) Track 09
10) The Kindler Burns
11) End of the Background Noise
12) Track 12
13) Track 13
14) I Know the Sum and Substace
of My Evil